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Opinion

Stats bores getting it wrong on Miguel Almiron

8 months ago
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It amazes me and I guess it does the same for most of you, that some Newcastle  supporters are still in denial about Miguel Almiron.

Some people will always swim against the tide, especially in these days of rampant social media, wanting to be noticed.

With the Miguel Almiron issue, these Newcastle fans claim the Paraguayan had minimal impact last season and say it is proved by the fact he had no goals and no assists.

However, that is a plain daft way to look at it, any stats have to be balanced with what you see with your own eyes.

It is the era we live in where so many people are over influenced by stats due largely to the likes of Sky Sports and online/computer orientated games.

In the particular case of Miguel Almiron, he arrived with Newcastle deep in relegation trouble and by the time he had made his ninth and final start of the season, NUFC were safe.

With Miguel Almiron starting in 2018/19:

Played 9 Won 5 Drawn 1 lost 3 Goals for 13 Goals against 10

Points won 16 from possible 27

Average 1.78 points per game and 1.44 goals

Without Miguel Almiron starting in 2018/19:

Played 29 Won 7 Drawn 8 lost 14 Goals for 29 Goals against 38

Points won 29 from possible 87

Average 1.00 points per game and 1.00 goals

Yes, I know that these are still stats but they are compelling ones. Far more compelling than simply who was the last or second last to touch the ball before it went in the net.

Last season in the MLS, Miguel Almiron was the only player to rank among the top 10 players for shots, chances created and completed dribbles.

When Newcastle signed him, Almiron had made 65 MLS starts (plus 3 sub appearances) and was directly involved in an incredible 41 goals – scoring 22 and getting 19 assists (stats source WhoScored).

So of course we hope and expect he will start contributing with goals and assists as well BUT the simple fact is that even without them, Miguel Almiron massively improved Newcastle United last season, he helped make other individuals better players as well as the team overall.

His ability to run at people, shoot from distance, dribble, carry the ball up the pitch quickly…

Moments such as the 30 yard shot that Jordan Pickford could only parry straight back to Perez who was left with an easy finish.

Likewise, at Bournemouth, Almiron broke from the edge of his own box and ran the length of the pitch with no support, before being fouled and Rondon scoring from the resultant free-kick.

After he had made his first five starts last season, Sky Sports did some excellent analysis on Miguel Almiron and especially how he had changed the dynamic of this Newcastle team.

The big stat that Sky Sports picked out, was the one showing chances created by each Newcastle player for every 90 minutes played.

Chances created per 90 minutes in the Premier League as per Sky Sports stats:

2.24 Miguel Almiron

1.76 Jonjo Shelvey

1.52 Ayoze Perez

1.19 Isaac Hayden

1.11 Christian Atsu

1.00 Salomon Rondon

0.98 DeAndre Yedlin

The thing is as well, is that Rafa Benitez asked Almiron to play a much deeper role than he was used to and as well as starting from further down the pitch, also had to do more defensive work than had been the norm for him.

The great thing was that he embraced all of that and didn’t complain, instead making an impact in terms of defending, as well as the clear difference he made Newcastle’s attacking threat.

Miguel Almiron’s two assists in two games for Paraguay so far in Copa America, particularly the one against Argentina last night, are proof of what he is capable of.

In the midst of so much uncertainty and negativity overall at the moment, thanks to Mike Ashley, Miguel Almiron is somebody who we should all be looking to watch next season.

Even better of course if we have new owners, a credible manager still in place, as well as at least a few better players signed to play alongside him.

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